Intervention 101: “Will My Child Ever Love Me Again?”

InterventionOftentimes I meet with parents of an at risk child who know conceptually that some sort of intervention is required. However, their heart isn’t there yet.

They want to believe that, because their child has not hit rock bottom at that point, there is still some hope. This, for instance, can hold true for a child who suffers from depression or other inward-directed emotions. If that child is physically present, parents can often convince themselves things will turn for the better because they can protect their child and are convinced that, as problem-solvers themselves, they can control the situation.

This is not always the case, however, for a child who is either overtly abusing substance(s) or is directing behaviors outward through defiance or rage. The problems *appear* much more acute and parents can feel as though they have no other choice but to act.

In the former case, if a child is spending 14 hours per day gaming on the Internet, the parent may rationalize that at least that child appears happy and is engaged in something seemingly innocuous. Similarly, the child who is severely depressed and doesn’t want to leave the home may make the parent feel that the only place he/she feels “safe” and “wanted” is home under their care.

The sad truth is that, more often than not, parents are enabling their children because they fear loss of love as a consequence of intervening. A child can often falsely empower parents by appealing that he/she will never be happy leaving home and that trust and understanding is at stake. Unfortunately, this empowerment is really just masked manipulation.

Needless to say parents want their children to love them… however, the cost of wanting their children to love them while they are suffering pales in comparison to the devastating costs associated with losing them in the long run.

So, when parents ask in exasperation, “Will my child ever love me again?” my answer can be hard for them to hear. I explain to them that their child will in all likelihood make it clear to them up-front that the answer will be no… today. However, over time as healing takes hold, those parents will eventually see the longer-term gains of building a love that perhaps did not even exist at that level before.

Let us know what you have experienced…


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